Last Wednesday on “tax day,” I had the privilege of attending my first Tea Party event. Standing on the steps of the Colorado State Capitol building in Denver, I addressed several thousand people concerning the impact of wrong-headed energy policies on all Americans – especially the minority community. Before I began the substance of my brief remarks, I led the group in an old Civil Rights cheer – “Let Freedom Ring!” You may recall that Martin Luther King, Jr. eloquently articulated the need to let freedom ring in every corner of America. Freedom needs to ring in our environmental policies as well as on Wall Street, Main Street, and your street.
What an encouraging moment it was for Niger Innis, national spokesperson for the Congress on Racial Equality (CORE) - a 68-year old civil rights organization - and myself to be so well received by a group that has strongly been labeled as “racist.” Nothing could be further from the truth. Scores of people thanked Mr. Innis and I for both the information we shared and our presence at the rally.
They recognized that the findings of a new report on the economic and employment impact of current CO2 restrictions endorsed by the EPA will be detrimental to all Americans. The study I am referencing estimates that the US GDP will be reduced by at least $500 billion over the next two decades by this one factor alone. This translates into the loss millions of jobs over the next 10 years. Third, there will also be a significant reduction in the average household income but it will regressively affect poor and lower middle class families the most.
It is important to remind you that we are calculating are the effects of what would only be the first steps of the current EPA energy policies. Additional programs would most likely create even more dramatic effects. What I am not saying is that there should be no work done in this arena. I am simply saying that the nation must evaluate the results of such policies as CO2 emissions and the impact on the economy. This is especially important because of the economic decline we find the nation in at this moment.
Bishop Harry Jackson is chairman of the High Impact Leadership Coalition and senior pastor of Hope Christian Church in Beltsville, MD, and co-authored, Personal Faith, Public Policy [FrontLine; March 2008] with Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council.